Re-engineering and Re-defining University Libraries in the context of modern Information and Communication Technologies: a study with special reference to the University Libraries in Kerala

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Re-engineering and Re-defining University Libraries in the context of modern Information and Communication Technologies: a study with special reference to the University Libraries in Kerala

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Title: Re-engineering and Re-defining University Libraries in the context of modern Information and Communication Technologies: a study with special reference to the University Libraries in Kerala
Author: Francis, A T; Dr. Humayoon Kabir, S
Abstract: Information and communication technologies are the tools that underpin the emerging “Knowledge Society”. Exchange of information or knowledge between people and through networks of people has always taken place. But the ICT has radically changed the magnitude of this exchange, and thus factors such as timeliness of information and information dissemination patterns have become more important than ever.Since information and knowledge are so vital for the all round human development, libraries and institutions that manage these resources are indeed invaluable. So, the Library and Information Centres have a key role in the acquisition, processing, preservation and dissemination of information and knowledge. ln the modern context, library is providing service based on different types of documents such as manuscripts, printed, digital, etc. At the same time, acquisition, access, process, service etc. of these resources have become complicated now than ever before. The lCT made instrumental to extend libraries beyond the physical walls of a building and providing assistance in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of knowledge with a variety of digital tools. Thus, modern libraries are increasingly being re-defined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources.The research was conducted in the university libraries in Kerala State, India. lt was identified that even though the information resources are flooding world over and several technologies have emerged to manage the situation for providing effective services to its clientele, most of the university libraries in Kerala were unable to exploit these technologies at maximum level. Though the libraries have automated many of their functions, wide gap prevails between the possible services and provided services. There are many good examples world over in the application of lCTs in libraries for the maximization of services and many such libraries have adopted the principles of reengineering and re-defining as a management strategy. Hence this study was targeted to look into how effectively adopted the modern lCTs in our libraries for maximizing the efficiency of operations and services and whether the principles of re-engineering and- redefining can be applied towards this.Data‘ was collected from library users, viz; student as well as faculty users; library ,professionals and university librarians, using structured questionnaires. This has been .supplemented by-observation of working of the libraries, discussions and interviews with the different types of users and staff, review of literature, etc. Personal observation of the organization set up, management practices, functions, facilities, resources, utilization of information resources and facilities by the users, etc. of the university libraries in Kerala have been made. Statistical techniques like percentage, mean, weighted mean, standard deviation, correlation, trend analysis, etc. have been used to analyse data.All the libraries could exploit only a very few possibilities of modern lCTs and hence they could not achieve effective Universal Bibliographic Control and desired efficiency and effectiveness in services. Because of this, the users as well as professionals are dissatisfied. Functional effectiveness in acquisition, access and process of information resources in various formats, development and maintenance of OPAC and WebOPAC, digital document delivery to remote users, Web based clearing of library counter services and resources, development of full-text databases, digital libraries and institutional repositories, consortia based operations for e-journals and databases, user education and information literacy, professional development with stress on lCTs, network administration and website maintenance, marketing of information, etc. are major areas need special attention to improve the situation. Finance, knowledge level on ICTs among library staff, professional dynamism and leadership, vision and support of the administrators and policy makers, prevailing educational set up and social environment in the state, etc. are some of the major hurdles in reaping the maximum possibilities of lCTs by the university libraries in Kerala. The principles of Business Process Re-engineering are found suitable to effectively apply to re-structure and redefine the operations and service system of the libraries. Most of the conventional departments or divisions prevailing in the university libraries were functioning as watertight compartments and their existing management system was more rigid to adopt the principles of change management. Hence, a thorough re-structuring of the divisions was indicated. Consortia based activities and pooling and sharing of information resources was advocated to meet the varied needs of the users in the main campuses and off campuses of the universities, affiliated colleges and remote stations. A uniform staff policy similar to that prevailing in CSIR, DRDO, ISRO, etc. has been proposed by the study not only in the university libraries in kerala but for the entire country.Restructuring of Lis education,integrated and Planned development of school,college,research and public library systems,etc.were also justified for reaping maximum benefits of the modern ICTs.
Description: Department of Computer Applications, Cochin Univesity of Science and Technology
URI: http://dyuthi.cusat.ac.in/purl/2888
Date: 2008


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